Breeding Females (breeding + female)

Distribution by Scientific Domains


Selected Abstracts


Individual quality mediates trade-offs between reproductive effort and immune function in tree swallows

JOURNAL OF ANIMAL ECOLOGY, Issue 3 2005
DANIEL R. ARDIA
Summary 1Individual variation in the trade-off between self-maintenance and offspring quality was assessed in tree swallows, Tachycineta bicolor, by manipulating reproductive effort while simultaneously immunochallenging breeding females. 2An experimental manipulation of parental effort was conducted by creating broods of, on average, three, five and eight nestlings. Breeding females were immunochallenged to mount a humoral immune response to sheep red blood cells (SRBC) and a cell-mediated response to phytohaemagglutinin (PHA). The consequences of adult decisions on offspring quality were assessed through immune responses to PHA, growth rates and residual body mass of nestlings. 3Clutch initiation date, a strong measure of individual quality in tree swallows, was linked with immune responses, with earlier-nesting, presumably higher quality, females mounting stronger immune responses than did later-nesting birds. Increased reproductive effort led to decreased parental immune responses. There was a significant interaction between individual quality and reproductive effort treatment, with lower-quality individuals showing greater depression of humoral immune response to SRBC while raising enlarged broods, suggesting individual-level variation in trade-offs. 4Breeding females raising enlarged broods tended to raise offspring of similar quality to control females, with only growth rate decreasing with increasing brood size, but not residual nestling body mass or nestling immunocompetence. This suggests that females are maintaining offspring quality at the cost of their own immune system maintenance. [source]


Cooperative Breeding and Group Structure in the Lake Tanganyika Cichlid Neolamprologus savoryi

ETHOLOGY, Issue 11 2005
Dik Heg
As yet, cooperative breeding has been described only for some fish species. However, evidence is accumulating that it is widespread among Lake Tanganyika cichlids. We studied the cooperative breeding system of the substrate breeding cichlid Neolamprologus savoryi. Breeding groups typically consisted of a large breeding male with one to four breeding females and three to 33 helpers (mean group size: 14.3 members). Group size was significantly related to breeding male and female body sizes, and larger males had more breeding females and larger sized male helpers. The size of the largest female in the group was positively related to the number and sizes of secondary breeding females and female helpers. In case of multiple breeding females, these females usually divided the group's territory into sub-territories, each with its own helpers (subgroups). Interspersed between groups, independent fish were detected defending an individual shelter (4.4% of all fish). In 9% of the groups no breeding female was present. All group members participated in territory defence and maintenance, and showed submissive behaviours to larger group members. As expected, the level of between-subgroup conflicts was high compared with the level of within-subgroup conflicts. We compare these results with data available from other cooperatively breeding fishes. [source]


Age-dependent reproductive performance in Northern Goshawks Accipiter gentilis

IBIS, Issue 1 2003
Jan Tøttrup Nielsen
The age-specific reproductive performance of Northern Goshawks Accipiter gentilis was studied over 22 years in Denmark. The age of the breeding female in relation to the number of young raised was known in 929 breeding attempts, while the age of both the male and the female was known in 496 breeding attempts. The number of fledglings raised per breeding attempt increased with both male and female age, but only for females was it possible to conduct a detailed analysis of this age-dependent relationship. The annual production of fledglings increased with female age from 1 to 7 years of age, whereupon it started to decline. A longitudinal analysis showed that this mean population trend could be attributed to similar age-related trends in individual females. Previous breeding experience did not influence the number of fledglings produced by individual females, and poorly performing females apparently survived with the same probability as well performing ones. The most likely explanation for the age-dependent reproductive performance in the observed Goshawk population appeared to be age-related improvements in competence, such as foraging efficiency. [source]


Breeding success in a Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis [undulata] macqueenii population on the eastern fringe of the Jungar Basin, People's Republic of China

IBIS, Issue 2 2002
O. Combreau
Nesting success and chick survival of a migratory population of Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis [undulata] macqueenii were studied during three consecutive years (1998,2000) in the Xinjiang province of north-west China. A total of 45 nests was monitored and 85 broods comprising 227 chicks were captured, of which 82 chicks were radio-tracked. Start of laying varied between 6 and 17 April between years but the laying mode fell consistently between 26 and 30 April. Mean clutch size was 4.0 (sd = 0.8) (range 2,6) for early clutches and 3.3 (sd = 1.1) for late clutches (range 2,5). The average nesting success was 0.588 (sd = 0.270) but great variations were observed between years ,0.882 in 1998, 0.530 in 1999 and 0.351 in 2000. This was related to increased predation in 1999 and 2000, which is reflected by increased predator density (chiefly Corsac Fox Vulpes corsac and Long-legged Buzzards Buteo rufinus). The overall hatchability, defined as the proportion of eggs hatched in successful nests was 0.839 sd = 0.238). The average brood size at hatching varied from 2.9 (sd = 0.8) to 3.3 (sd = 0.9) according to years, and no significant decrease in brood size was observed in the first 5 days post-hatching. In 1999 and 2000 the brood size diminished sharply (14% and 27%, respectively) in prefledging chicks. A further severe decrease (37%) was observed in fledglings in 2000, probably due to predation by raptors. For the 3 years of the study, a successful female Houbara would bring on average 2.3 (sd = 0.9) chicks to fledging and would have lost 30.2% (sd = 14.9%) of its brood to adversity during the rearing process. The proportion of females that lost their entire brood was 0.181 in 1998, 0.708 in 1999 and 0.453 in 2000. For the 3 years of the study, only 55.3% (sd = 26.3%) of the females hatching eggs brought chicks to fledging. The overall chick production was 0.827 per breeding female per year and the probability of an egg laid producing a fledgling of 8 weeks old was 0.190. [source]


Patterns of reproductive effort and success in birds: path analyses of long-term data from European ducks

JOURNAL OF ANIMAL ECOLOGY, Issue 2 2002
Peter Blums
Summary 1We tested ecological hypotheses about timing of breeding and reproductive effort in birds, by analysing > 15-year data sets for individually marked females in three species of Latvian ducks (northern shoveler, tufted duck, common pochard). 2Duckling survival and recruitment declined with advancing hatch date in pochard and tufted duck, after controlling for effects of female age and other factors with path analysis, a novel finding which indicates that fitness advantages associated with early hatching extended beyond the prefledging period. Logistic regression analysis suggested further that individual duckling prefledging survival was moderate in the earliest phase of the breeding season, greatest in mid-season and lowest later on. 3However, selection acting against early hatched ducklings was surpassed by strong directional selection favouring recruitment of the earliest hatching females. The absolute and relative numbers of female recruits produced by a breeding female declined sharply with advancing hatch date in all species. 4Unlike previous studies, an hypothesized intraspecific trade-off between duckling mass and brood size was detected, being very robust in two of three species. 5Unexpectedly, female age effects on recruitment were manifested only indirectly by several pathways, the most important being the earlier hatching dates of older females. Size-adjusted body mass (i.e. condition index) was positively related to reproductive success, and was 2,8-fold more influential than female size (indexed by wing length). 6Overall, fecundity-independent variables (e.g. hatching date, weather, indices of duckling production and habitat quality) generally had 2,10 times greater influence on recruitment rates than did fecundity-dependent variables such as female size or condition, duckling mass and brood size, suggesting a critical role for external environmental factors vs. individual female-specific traits in the recruitment process. [source]


A female Lucifer Hummingbird (Calothorax lucifer) with iridescent chin feathers

JOURNAL OF FIELD ORNITHOLOGY, Issue 1 2006
Raúl Ortiz-Pulido
ABSTRACT We report an observation of a female Lucifer Hummingbird (Calothorax lucifer) with iridescent feathers on the chin, resembling the plumage of the juvenile male. The female and nest were found in a xeric shrubland in Barranca de Metztitlán Biosphere Reserve, Hidalgo State, Mexico. This is the first definitive report of a breeding female with such plumage, supporting a previous observation in which sex was not confirmed by behavior. Although this condition appears be rare in female Lucifer Hummingbirds, females in other species of hummingbirds exhibit much variation in the amount of iridescent plumage on the chin and in some, such as Costa's Hummingbirds (Calypte costae), females commonly exhibit colored feathers on the chin. SINOPSIS Reportamos una observacion de una hembra de colibrí Lucifer (Calothorax lucifer) con plumas iridiscentes en el babero, parecidas al plumaje de un macho juvenil. La hembra, la cual estaba incubando, fue encontrada en un área arbustiva xerofítica en la Reserva Biosférica Barranca de Metztitlan, en Hidalgo, México. Este es el primer informe definitivo de una hembra reproductora con este tipo de plumaje, en apoyo a una observación previa en donde el sexo no fue confirmado. Esta condición parece ser rara en estas aves en contraste con otras especies de zumbadores como Calypte costae, pero común en otras especies dimórficas de México y de los Estados Unidos. [source]


Mycophagy and its influence on habitat use and ranging patterns in Callimico goeldii

AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY, Issue 3 2010
Leila M. Porter
Abstract Mycophagy has been documented in a number of species of marmosets and lion tamarins (Callitrichinae) but its effect on ranging behavior is not known. We present the results of 10 years of research on five groups of Goeldi's monkey (Callimico goeldii) at a field site in northwestern Bolivia. We studied the diet and ranging behavior of two of the groups. On average, groups contained 4.5 individuals (range 2.0,9.0), but they gradually decreased in size until only the breeding female remained in the home range. The annual diet was composed of fungi (31.1,34.9%), fruits (34.0,40.6%), prey (17.4,30.1%), and exudates (1.0,10.9%). They had large home ranges (114,150 ha) and over time individuals tended to shift their core areas of use. They used secondary and bamboo forest and forest with dense understories more than expected based on availability. We suggest that the large home ranges and shifting core areas used by C. goeldii are components of a foraging strategy to track patchy, low density, and ephemeral fungal fruiting bodies. Our results, along with data published on other callitrichines, indicate that groups of Leontopithecus, Callithrix, and Callimico that eat fungi have larger home ranges than those that do not. Mycophagy is one of the several factors that evidently affect home range size in callitrichines. Fungi are clearly an important food source for a number of populations, but additional studies are needed to determine why some eat fungi frequently while others do not. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]


Cooperative Breeding and Group Structure in the Lake Tanganyika Cichlid Neolamprologus savoryi

ETHOLOGY, Issue 11 2005
Dik Heg
As yet, cooperative breeding has been described only for some fish species. However, evidence is accumulating that it is widespread among Lake Tanganyika cichlids. We studied the cooperative breeding system of the substrate breeding cichlid Neolamprologus savoryi. Breeding groups typically consisted of a large breeding male with one to four breeding females and three to 33 helpers (mean group size: 14.3 members). Group size was significantly related to breeding male and female body sizes, and larger males had more breeding females and larger sized male helpers. The size of the largest female in the group was positively related to the number and sizes of secondary breeding females and female helpers. In case of multiple breeding females, these females usually divided the group's territory into sub-territories, each with its own helpers (subgroups). Interspersed between groups, independent fish were detected defending an individual shelter (4.4% of all fish). In 9% of the groups no breeding female was present. All group members participated in territory defence and maintenance, and showed submissive behaviours to larger group members. As expected, the level of between-subgroup conflicts was high compared with the level of within-subgroup conflicts. We compare these results with data available from other cooperatively breeding fishes. [source]


Testosterone response to GnRH in a female songbird varies with stage of reproduction: implications for adult behaviour and maternal effects

FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY, Issue 4 2007
JODIE M. JAWOR
Summary 1Despite considerable recent interest in plasma and yolk testosterone (T) in female birds, relatively little is known about environmental regulation of female T, individual variation in female T or the relationship between plasma and yolk T. 2In breeding females of a wild population of dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis), we assessed variation in the responsiveness of the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis to a challenge with gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) by measuring circulating T before and 30 min after a standardized injection of GnRH. We asked whether response to challenge varied seasonally or with stage of reproduction and whether it was repeatable within individuals or related to T deposited in eggs. 3Initial and post-challenge levels of T were measured using enzyme immunoassay. In a subset of these females, luteinising hormone (LH) was measured using radioimmunoassay (RIA). In addition, eggs were collected from nests of 15 females that had received a GnRH challenge, and yolk T was measured using RIA. 4During most of the breeding season, plasma T did not increase in response to GnRH. GnRH consistently caused increases in plasma T only during the 7 days before oviposition, when females were rapidly depositing yolk in eggs but had not yet begun to lay them. Among a small subset of females we found a positive correlation between the magnitude of this increase in plasma T in response to GnRH during egg development and the amount of T deposited in the yolk of eggs collected at a later time. 5These results suggest that ovarian response to GnRH-induced increases in LH is greatest when females are actively depositing yolk into eggs. Factors that stimulate the release of GnRH during egg formation may result in higher levels of plasma T which could influence adult female behaviour. Further, because plasma T was correlated with later yolk T, factors that stimulate GnRH release may also lead to higher levels of yolk T potentially influencing offspring development or behaviour. [source]


Diagnosing the environmental causes of the decline in Grey Partridge Perdix perdix survival in France

IBIS, Issue 1 2001
ELISABETH BRO
We studied Grey Partridge Perdix perdix mortality during breeding to identify the environmental causes of a long-term decline in adult survival. We radiotagged and monitored daily from mid-March to mid-September 1009 females on ten contrasting study sites in 1995-97. Simultaneously, we recorded habitat features and estimated the abundance of Hen and Marsh Harriers Circus cyaneus and C. aeruginosus Red Fox Vulpes vulpes and mustelids. We experimentally tested whether scavenging could have biased predation rates. We also examined, through the necropsy of 80 carcasses of Grey Partridge, whether disease, parasites or poisoning could have been ultimate causes of high predation rates. The survival rate of radiotagged females during spring and summer ranged from 0.25 to 0.65 across study areas. Mortality peaked in May, June and July when females were laying and incubating. The direct negative impact of farming practices was low (6%). Predation was the main proximate cause of female mortality during breeding (73%) and determined the survival rate, suggesting no compensation by other causes of mortality. Ground carnivores were responsible for 64% of predation cases, and raptors for 29%, but this proportion varied across study sites. Disease and poisoning did not appear to favour predation, and scavenging was not likely to have substantially overestimated predation rates. The predation rate on breeding females was positively correlated with the abundance of Hen and Marsh Harriers, suggesting an additional mortality in areas where harriers were abundant. The proportion of raptor predation was linearly related to harrier abundance. The predation rate was not correlated with the abundance of the Red Fox and mustelids. A potential density-dependent effect on the predation rate was confounded by the abundance of harriers. We found no convincing relationship between the predation rate and habitat features, but we observed a positive relationship between the abundance of Hen and Marsh Harriers and the mean field size. This suggested that habitat characteristics may contribute to high predation rates through predator abundance or habitat-dependent predation. [source]


Individual quality mediates trade-offs between reproductive effort and immune function in tree swallows

JOURNAL OF ANIMAL ECOLOGY, Issue 3 2005
DANIEL R. ARDIA
Summary 1Individual variation in the trade-off between self-maintenance and offspring quality was assessed in tree swallows, Tachycineta bicolor, by manipulating reproductive effort while simultaneously immunochallenging breeding females. 2An experimental manipulation of parental effort was conducted by creating broods of, on average, three, five and eight nestlings. Breeding females were immunochallenged to mount a humoral immune response to sheep red blood cells (SRBC) and a cell-mediated response to phytohaemagglutinin (PHA). The consequences of adult decisions on offspring quality were assessed through immune responses to PHA, growth rates and residual body mass of nestlings. 3Clutch initiation date, a strong measure of individual quality in tree swallows, was linked with immune responses, with earlier-nesting, presumably higher quality, females mounting stronger immune responses than did later-nesting birds. Increased reproductive effort led to decreased parental immune responses. There was a significant interaction between individual quality and reproductive effort treatment, with lower-quality individuals showing greater depression of humoral immune response to SRBC while raising enlarged broods, suggesting individual-level variation in trade-offs. 4Breeding females raising enlarged broods tended to raise offspring of similar quality to control females, with only growth rate decreasing with increasing brood size, but not residual nestling body mass or nestling immunocompetence. This suggests that females are maintaining offspring quality at the cost of their own immune system maintenance. [source]


Red-tail monkey groups in forest patches outside the protected area system in the ,Kampala area'

AFRICAN JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, Issue 2004
D. Baranga
Abstract This study was conducted in the ,Kampala area', a forest-savanna-agricultural mosaic, and was aimed at investigating the ecology and survival of the red-tail monkey, Cercopithecus ascanius schmidti in fragmented forest patches outside the protected area system. The relationship between habitat variables and red-tail monkeys' distribution and other demographic factors were investigated. The average group size for red-tail monkeys in the forest patches was 11.9, while that in Mpanga Forest Reserve it was 23.2. Most of the red-tail monkey groups had breeding females but there were small populations with no breeding females. The number of breeding females and young varied in different forest patches with the breeding sex ratio ranging from 0 to 1:3. The residential status of red-tails in the patches was partly influenced by the presence of the vervet monkey and the intensity of human activities in the vicinity. [source]


Patterns of helping effort in co-operatively breeding banded mongooses (Mungos mungo)

JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY, Issue 2 2003
Michael A. Cant
Abstract In most co-operative breeding species, some individuals contribute much more to helping behaviour than others. The most well-established explanation of such variation is based on kin selection and suggests that, in the absence of detectable differences in relatedness, individuals who suffer lower costs for a given level of help should contribute more. Differences in helping effort between dominance/sex categories were investigated in co-operatively breeding banded mongooses Mungos mungo in Uganda. The most conspicuous form of help in this species is provided by individuals who babysit offspring at the den while the rest of the pack goes off to forage. Across eight groups, the survival rate of pups increased with the average number of babysitters guarding them, consistent with the hypothesis that helpers benefit the brood that they guard. There was no difference between dominant males, subordinate males and breeding females in total contributions to babysitting. Subordinate males, however, contributed more to babysitting in the mornings, which were the longest and presumably the most energetically expensive sessions of the day. In six litters in one well-studied pack, dominant males and breeding females reduced their contribution to babysitting for the period that females were in oestrus. By contrast, subordinate males increased their contribution to become the main babysitters during this time. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that, where helping conflicts with breeding, individuals with little chance of direct reproduction can help at a lower fitness cost than those with a high probability of successful reproduction. [source]


Effects of temporal and spatial variations in food supply on the space and habitat use of red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris L.)

JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY, Issue 2 2000
Peter W. W. Lurz
Abstract In non-native conifer plantations characterized by strong spatial and temporal variations in the availability of tree seeds in Spadeadam Forest, northern England, the home range and habitat use of red squirrels Sciurus vulgaris was very flexible. Males tended to have much larger home ranges than females and core-areas of most breeding females seemed mutually exclusive. Adult female red squirrels were found to increase their home range and core-area size in forest patches where food was less abundant. Home-range size was significantly related to home-range quality and the extent of overlap by other females. In contrast with high-quality continuous conifer forests: (1) a considerable proportion of adult males and females at Spadeadam shifted home range, (2) both sexes had much larger home ranges than reported from other habitats in Britain or Belgium. Many ranges were multinuclear, particularly from January onwards, when supplies of seeds become depleted through consumption and seed shed. Squirrels tracked the availability of conifer seeds (lodgepole pine cones throughout the study, Norway spruce cones in spring 1992 and Sitka spruce cones in autumn 1993) and intensively used several non-adjacent activity centres in temporally food-rich patches. Consequently, habitat preference changed markedly with time. The squirrels seemed to maximize nitrogen intake and to avoid the smaller seeds when possible. This resulted in an overall preference for a mixed diet of lodgepole pine and spruce seeds and avoidance of Sitka spruce seeds when Norway spruce seeds were available. These results lend support to the hypothesis of Ostfeld (1985) that when food is sparse and patchily distributed, females should develop intrasexual territoriality, concentrating their activity in food-rich patches, while males should be non-territorial and adapt their space use to the distribution of females. [source]